The Wine Diaries-Brilliant Disguise

the wine diaries-Brilliant disguiseWe were the couple. There I said it. It may sound kind of stuck up or righteous. But we were successful by society’s standards. We had(ve) two beautiful children. We had the three bedroom, two car garage home in the ‘burbs. He drove a BMW I drove a Lexus. Sick, right?

Everything looked perfect from the outside.

Now I’ll play the loving woman you’ll play the faithful man.

I recall a cool autumn night. It was my daughter’s 8th or 9th birthday. The party was over, the children had taken their goody bags and left with icing on their faces hours before. My daughter and I danced to Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way, with abandon in our family room, with the stereo blaring.

After the kids were in bed and the stars were trying to shine behind the moonlit clouds, we sat outside with a few friends.  It was one of those special nights where nothing much happened but the birthday celebrations combined with October skies seemed to create a kind of magic.

The gypsy swore our future was right. But come the wee hours maybe, baby the gypsy lied.

It’s too bad that bitter memories override those special ones. Isn’t it true though, that one bad memory, one terrible thing said can erase all the good ones? It’s like after you’ve wronged someone you love, you can’t recite all the good things you did and make that one heinous thing go away.

I felt something touching shame underneath my pillow.

If our marriage was a rugby game I would have won, single handedly-a one woman team full of tries.

We wended our way through the winters that hurt our lungs to breathe and the oppressive summers clouded with mosquitoes. “What are you going to do about it?” He asked. That was the exact moment I knew. I knew but I didn’t do anything about it. Not yet.

Tonight our bed is cold
I’m lost in the darkness of our love

My loneliness ran so deep a whale could swim in it. My blood turned as cold as the ocean in winter. Although I was surrounded by people, they all wanted something from me. I couldn’t seem to get it right. I had one friend who used to tell me how to cook, what to feed my kids, how to decorate, how to wear my hair, even how to behave at business functions. Yes, she actually did that. She and her husband were invited one year and when I arrived she proceeded to tell me how to act (I must greet each of 100+ guests as they walk in according to her) and what I was doing wrong (I was late according to her). I had been attending these functions for 10 or more years without her. I wonder how I ever managed before?

It was as if I were not really a mother or a wife at all but only pretending to be.

She’s the same friend who bought my daughter big girl underwear when she was 2 ½ years old and insisted I let her wear them all day until she learn how to go in the toilet. I was left cleaning up pee all day, stressed out and what did we accomplish? Absolutely nothing.

It was as if I needed a ‘how-to’ guide to be a real person. This friend’s good intentions had a way of chipping at my dignity over time. Although you may question what this friend had to do with my marriage, I can assure you that when people come into your life and monopolize it they influence the very fabric of your marriage.

Look at me baby, struggling to do everything right

In hindsight, I would have been more guarded. Even so, I guess we weren’t the kind of couple to withstand the intrusion. You see, no one was trying to fix him.

Friends who always want something from you, whether that’s to change who you are, or give them something they need, really aren’t friends at all, are they?

So when you look at me you better look hard and look twice. Is that me, baby or just a brilliant disguise?

Everything looked perfect from the outside.

When I finally broke, it happened fast. I liberated myself from the pain and loneliness and from everyone’s expectations. I could let the brilliant disguise drop.

God have mercy on the woman who doubts what she’s sure of

I was free.


Like what you’re reading? You’ll love the bookthe great escape; a girl's guide to leaving a marriage


Leave a comment, I LOVE ’em! Was there an exact moment you knew your marriage was broken?

Brilliant Disguise song lyrics by Bruce Springsteen

Pair with a dark, full bodied red such as Coppola’s Petite Syrah

signature black

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18 Replies to “The Wine Diaries-Brilliant Disguise”

  1. Those lines in-between the paragraphs really reveal a lot for how you felt. This one especially: I’m lost in the darkness of our love.

    You’re right that friends who want to change you aren’t really friends at all. It’s like with a partner…friends should accept you for who you are right the beginning.

    1. So true. I still can’t understand that lack of acceptance and absolutely, our partners and spouses should really love us ‘just the way we are’. That always makes me think of Bridget Jones—LOL.

  2. Amen to that. I never really sat down and put the pieces together as to that “ah-ha moment” (thanks Oprah). I do remember when I finally made the decision to leave the marriage, my “friends” thought I had contracted some kind of weird disease, and their husbands were scared to death it was contagious! Funny now that I think about it😊
    It warrants pointing out that many years later, some of those “friends” are now Escapees (love that definition Lisa!), and tell me they wished they had done it sooner. Some even share that they wished they had had the courage to what I did. Most still in that loveless, sexless marriage as they were “back then”. Great post Lisa. As always.❤️🍷❤️

    1. Hi Shali, oh, that’s exactly right. Many marrieds think divorce is contagious—LOL. That’s interesting about your friends. Most of the ones we had as a couple are still together although none of them speak to me… 😀 I have a good story to tell you over coffee next. Truly bizarre. What I will tell you really explains the friendships during my marriage. I’m curious, did your friends reach out to you later when they went through their own divorce?

  3. I love Springsteen lyrics always!
    I’d love the book.
    My marriage isn’t broken, well, not beyond repair. I’ve had those moments, though. I know them very well.

    1. Hi Tamara, I bought that Springsteen album in February, 1987. It was two months before I married. Ironically, many of the songs on the album are about his divorce. It was his first solo album after the E Street band split. I loved the whole album and still do.

      Your marriage isn’t broken…no, it may be bent. It’s really a question of how bent. I mean, all relationships have their challenges but it’s when one person is always doing the fixing that it eventually breaks. I hope you’re far from that, Tamara <3 xoxo

  4. Hi Lisa

    Some memories are incredibly harsh, some wounds always fester…you have spoken so casually but the unarticulated emotions are peeping through your words, hitting my heart like shards sharper than shafts of guillotine.

    I am glad you walked out and knew you had to. Hugs and love. Stay blessed.

    1. Yes, you’ve said it so well Balroop. Some of these memories are very sharp and looking back, I wonder why I put up with some of the shit for so long. Of course, there were moments of happiness in there and that’s what keeps us going and the love for our babies. I eventually knew I had to! I had to face the truth. My truth.

  5. Oh Lisa, hugs hugs and more hugs to the Lisa from those years before. Had I known you, I would have driven over with a bottle of wine and two glasses and off we’d go into the sunset, or at least for a reprieve. I’m so sorry you experienced that pain and heartache, and I’m so inspired by how you freed yourself and built a new life…. <3

    Ps I hope your litigation comes to a positive conclusion…and sooner rather than later!

    1. Thank you, Jane! Yes, we would have driven off…Thelma and Louise style…well, maybe not quite that wild. Ha! Thanks for the good wishes in the legal department. This too shall pass.

  6. My heart goes out to you Lisa. I’ve been there and not a time I’d ever go back to. Thank you for sharing your real and raw emotion. I have a tough time even dredging up all those feelings.

    1. Hi Jessie, thank you so much and yes, it is still painful but I feel it’s important to share some of these stories. I hope it inspires others to take a hard look at their own life. We only get one!! Ya know something else, I got asked so many times WHY. “Why did you leave?” I was the one with the problem they thought. Truth is much more complex, as you know.

  7. i kept thinking as i read that… oh the damage done from the toxic people in our lives.

    i’ve removed people i used to call friends. we (hopefully) get to that place where we can see when it’s just not a good fit… i unfollow you in real life! hahaaahaaa!!!!!

    the other night i had a dream where my ex popped up and said something that made me feel small and stupid. i literally woke myself yelling out… FUCK YOU!
    i woke up mad but empowered because saying something back even in a dream meant i was fighting back and finding my voice in my subconscious. xx

    1. Exactly, true Tracie. Well meaning toxicity can also damage. Although I question the ‘well meaning’ claim. Unfollow in real life—ha! That’s what we have to do though.

      That’s awesome that you defended yourself in your dream. I’m sure in real life you would have a few choice words if he tried that. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Tracie. xo

  8. This was a beautiful post, Lisa! And that “friend” sounds absolutely retched!!! But I swear, it’s so hard to see how cruel people can be until you step away from the situation, and then it’s like “how did i put up with her for so many years?!” xo!

    1. Hi Jess, isn’t that true? When we’re in the thick of it, we don’t see. Just as any relationship, friendships can change over time and not for the better. It’s important to stand up for self even with people we’ve had in our life for a long time. We can hopefully prevent these kind of negative patterns of behavior from taking over. Nice to see ya!

  9. Wow, Lisa. I am obsessed with your writing. And I totally understand this and wonder how so many well-intentioned friends ever think we can survive without their amazing leadership in our lives (eye roll), sorry. But things like this drive me completely batty. No one should ever doubt your role in the world, whether it’s in the form of a business function or a mom behind the scenes. I’m sorry anyone made you second guess your decisions.

    I agree completely with Chrys. Friends should never want to change who you are but <3 and accept you unconditionally. I mean, that's the beauty of a friendship, isn't it?

    Also, it's sad really how one sh*t moment can take away from so many beautiful memories. Send Me On My Way is wonderful dancing music 🙂

    Also a final PS: I'm so sorry I never responded to your comment the other day re: blog cliques and networks and whatnot. For some reason, WordPress isn't emailing me comments the way it used to so now I'm finding them days after they've been sitting there and well, I just wanted to thank you for always coming by and letting you know you always have a spot at my table <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi Charlotte, thank you so much. I LOVE when my writing resonates. Ha! ‘eye roll’ exactly. There’s a line that gets crossed when guidance turns into meddling and interference. Neither of which is healthy. Friends should accept us the way we are for sure. There’s no better friend than one who can do that. I am very fortunate to have more than a few such friends. I don’t tolerate the least bit of bullying or put downs anymore.

      Oh, no worries on the comment thing. WordPress can be pretty fussy, I find. 🙂 Thanks for that ongoing invite, charlotte. I love it! I feel the welcoming vibe on your blog.

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